MSG in “Healthy” Food

As consumers are becoming more aware of what they’re putting into their bodies, marketing companies are growing savvier. Most of us already know that MSG (monosodium glutamate) is a harmful chemical found in many fast and prepackaged foods. “MSG-free” has become a popular label on packaged foods geared toward the health conscious consumer, but some may not yet know that products touted as being free of MSG may not necessarily be free of this neurotoxin. Moreover, many products contain MSG-like ingredients known by various other names. L-glutamic acid and glutamate, both producing the same effects as MSG, are considered safe salt alternatives by the FAO and WHO and are found in products labeled “MSG-free.” In truth, these are both alternate names for free glutamic acid, and are simply additives whose amino acids have been separated from the sodium component. As such, they need not be explicitly labeled as “monosodium glutamate.”

10 worst foods- Processed foods









The surest way to avoid MSG is simply to abstain from all packaged and processed foods. Pick up any food item in a package or can, or just about any meal at a fast-food restaurant, and you are sure to find at least one of the additives below in the list of ingredients. For that reason, it is best to steer clear of plastic, tin, or cardboard packaging, as it will almost always be questionable. The more ingredients listed, the more likely the food item is to be contaminated with glutamate. If any item contains more than 5 ingredients that alone would hint it contains a form of MSG. MSG is an addictive compound. For those who do choose to consume processed foods, the next best option would be to become familiar with the usual suspects that either contain or result in MSG and avoid them. Careful examination of ingredient lists is critical. There are 50 different ways MSG can be labeled. In addition, tin cans are often coated with chemicals containing MSG.

The following ingredients that always contain processed free glutamic acid should wave a red flag:

Glutamic acid (E 620), glutamate (E 620), monopotassium glutamate (E 622), calcium glutamate (E 623), monoammonium glutamate (E 624), magnesium glutamate (E 625), natrium glutamate, anything “hydrolyzed,” any “hydrolyzed protein,” calcium caseinate, sodium caseinate, yeast extract, Torula yeast, yeast foods, yeast nutrient, autolyzed yeast, gelatin, textured protein, whey protein, whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate, soy protein, soy protein concentrate, soy protein isolate, anything “protein,” anything “protein fortified,” soy sauce, soy sauce extract, protease, anything “enzyme modified,” anything containing “enzymes,” anything “fermented.” Gluten is always processed and broken down into free glutamic acid. Processed gluten-free foods also generate MSG.

10 worst foods - glutinous grains









Oxygrow, containing MSG, is sprayed on conventional fruits and vegetables. It penetrates the cell walls of the membranes of the produce.

The following ingredients often contain or produce some glutamic acid in their processing: Carrageenan (E 407), bouillon and broth, stock, any “flavors” or “flavoring” (including artificial or natural flavorings) maltodextrin, citric acid, citrate (E 330), anything “ultra-pasteurized,” barley malt, pectin (E 440), malt extract, seasonings, baking powder, lecithin, xanthum gum, molasses. Raspberry and banana flavor are associated with MSG. All chicken broth preparations contain MSG, as well as chicken flavor.

The  following  ingredients  are  highly  suspected  of  containing  or  creating  free  glutamic  acid  which  can   trigger  MSG  reactions:  Corn  starch,  corn  syrup,  modified  food  starch,  Lipolyzed  butter  fat, dextrose, rice  syrup,  brown  rice  syrup,  milk  powder,  reduced  fat  milk  (skim;  1%;  2%), most things “low fat” or “no fat,” anything “enriched,” anything “vitamin enriched,” anything “pasteurized,” annatto,  vinegar,   balsamic  vinegar. Any pasteurized milk contains MSG, which is created during the processing. Casein, the protein in milk, generates free MSG in milk, cheese and yogurt.

10 worst foods - cheese









Unfortunately, even seemingly healthful items found in health food stores are often laden with processed free glutamate. Although vegans tend to consume fewer processed foods than their omnivorous counterparts, they are not left out, as many frozen dinners and packaged snacks, although free of animal products, will still be high in preservatives and artificial flavorings. Vegans would do best to be wary and avoid the following frequently purchased food products: Tamari and soy sauce, Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, seasonings, salad dressings, veggie broths (yeast extract, maltodextrin), nutritional yeast, store-bought nut milks (most contain carrageenan, guar gum, and/or locust bean gum), vegan protein bars and protein powders (hydrolyzed proteins). Gluten-free soy products also contain MSG.

Be aware that “No MSG” does not mean “No MSG.” This is a major marketing gimmick. The inclusion of MSG in processed foods results in financial benefits for the manufacturer, and MSG is FDA approved. Everybody will experience symptoms from ingesting MSG, and the amount needed to result in disease depends on the individual’s toxic threshold. This is reason enough to prepare meals and snacks from unprocessed, organically grown foods.

Sources:­1   Stop MSG to End Autism

By Karen  Ranzi,  M.A.  with intern Stephanie Vasquez Adames


9 Responses so far.

  1. Its like you read my mind! You seem to know a
    lot about this, like you wrote the ebook in it or something.
    I believe that you could do with some % to power the
    message house a bit, however other than that, this is excellent
    blog. A great read. I’ll certainly be back.
  2. safi says:
    Does raw Apple Cider contain MSG? Is Braggs Organic raw unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar which states it is unpasteurised & naturally gluten free an non msg product.
    • karen says:
      As far as I know, the Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar doesn’t have MSG. I find that many soy products have MSG created in the processing of the product. This was found in a university study of Braggs Liquid Aminos.
  3. Lea says:
    I just wanted to correct the “oxygrow” is actually “Auxigrow”. Seems small I know, but makes a difference in research. Otherwise, great work. I am so glad there are people like you writing about this.
  4. Lea says:
    Actually, I would like to add that I truly hope you and others dig as deep as possible on this topic. Connecting all the dots is really important. MSG is also found in the #1 vaccine that is claimed to be responsible for autism as well. The MMR vaccine contains no thimerisol, but has at least three msg containing ingredients. It is in the growth mediums that are used. Coincidence?

    Enriched flour and rice and two other sources we have found to be high in MSG as well. It is in the vitamins mix they add to the rice to enrich it. Isn’t that wonderful? Thanks Ajinimoto. The only company that produces MSG in the world.

    • karen says:
      Thank you Lea for your excellent comments. Most people are unaware of not only the MSG (monosodium glutamate) in ingredients of packaged processed foods but also the MSG that’s created in the processing itself. Thank you for helping me in bringing this important awareness of this toxic exitotoxin.
  5. Kista says:
    I have a very specific set of symptoms when I get MSG.
    Mouth/lips swell, throat swells and eventually whole body esp fingers, toes and eyes
    Feels drunk…Act silly then angry
    Yawn, eyes close, coma of length determined by amount ingested.
    So…I ate about 1 cup of my bf’s lucky charms and the sequence commenced with a lengthy coma.
    I checked the label and no MSG listed. I called the number on the label and asked cust svc. At 1st she said mom, it would be on the label if yes. I asked for a supervisor. Same lady came back, and said, yes there is 27 items that have MSG! Every food color and every added vitamin as well as others. How many children and ppl are being medicated for misdiagnosed MSG symptoms, like bipolar, ADHD, anger issues, low energy and even narcolepsy???
    Nobody takes it seriously because it’s not considered an actual allergy, merely a “sensitivity” so it doesn’t have to be on the label.
    I want to see all MSG on the label and the # amount which is in the food. I don’t mind eating some, it’s hardly avoidable, but give me a fighting chance.
    • karen says:
      I understand Kista. I’m sure these reactions are much more common then most people are aware of. There is MSG in most packaged and bottled foods and people are taking in huge amounts of it on a daily basis. Attention deficit disorder, chronic fatigue and many autoimmune conditions can be directly linked.
  6. Kista says:
    I am female, over 50, btw. I only connected the symptoms to the MSG within the last 5 years. I can think back over the decades to explain problems in school and being late to classes, jobs, and even problems in my marriage since it makes me sleep so hard, sometimes up to 10 hours of coma sleep! Plus we would eat and watch movie and I fell asleep which made him feel as though I didn’t care. I told him I was getting tunnel vision but he thought I didn’t care about spending time with him.
    If only I had known. I’m sure I was adding a ton of MSG in the food back then.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.